Women, Latinas, Mothers, CDC, Equality
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The U.S. territory of Puerto Rico is reportedly seeing a rise in the number of cesarean, or C-section, cases, with more than 50% babies being delivered via the surgical procedure.

As per a federal report released Wednesday, 32.2% women underwent cesarean in 2022, which was slightly more than 32.1% from 2021. The surge in cesareans has been witnessed since 2018 in younger females under the age of 40, as per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While the report didn't mention any explanation regarding the choice of cesarean, medical experts in the territory stated various reasons.

President of Puerto Rico's Association of Surgical Doctors Dr. Carlos Díaz Vélez said, "In general, hospitals have limited personnel and few economic resources. As a result, ob-gyns prefer to schedule a cesarean to ensure they will have all the medical personnel required for a birth," AP News reported.

"They prefer it be organized than improvised," the doctor added. "It guarantees security."

Cesarean is a surgical procedure to deliver a baby by making an incision to the mother's abdominal wall and uterus. This procedure was initially opted for when natural (vaginal) delivery was not possible for the mother or seemed unsafe to the doctors for some medical reason.

The delivery rate dropped to 17,772 births last year, which was the lowest since the late 1880s. Due to this, many delivery rooms were shut and doctors started moving to the U.S. mainland.

Vélez explained that the doctors also opt for cesareans more than natural birth because it reduces the risks.

Dr. Annette Pérez-Delboy, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, who specializes in high-risk pregnancies and previously worked in New York, said women were choosing cesareans to avoid pain or for aesthetic reasons, noting that epidurals were not routinely covered by insurance companies in Puerto Rico.

"In Puerto Rico, women are afraid of vaginal birth," Pérez-Delboy claimed.

However, the doctor agreed with Vélez, noting that lack of medical personnel had increased cesareans.

"For a doctor in Puerto Rico, it is better to do a cesarean section, since it pays more, you have it on time, it has less risk of litigation and the mother leaves happier," she said. "Everyone knows it, and everyone understands it, but you have to put yourself in the shoes of these doctors."

As per the report, the biggest surge has been recorded in mothers younger than 20 as the percentage jumped from 37% to 42%.

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